Two strangers, a room, a button and finding out you’re in a story.

It must’ve been some night – pretty sure my room is not a clean, sparse, minimalistic box with a button on a pedestal saying “Do Not Press”. Sheesh. Architects these days, with their little white boxes and being so touchy about everything.

And I’m very sure that body wasn’t there before. In haggard, but futuristic robes. Hair everywhere, he looks like some homeless guy from the future.

This feels oddly familiar though – wait! – By mackerel, my breath stinks, and I’m going to get some breakfast…

Which is what I would’ve done if I can find a door in this bloody… mackerel, who turned the lights off

I didn’t do that.

“Ah, now you arise. I nearly thought you were dead. Why’d you turn the lights off in this fancy art-deco organically built clean cut titanium room, ey? They don’t even build windows in this place.”

Well, it was probably you. You have pressed the button ten times before. You’re leaning on it right now.

Only now does the button do anything, doesn’t it? Why do they say “Do not press” if it doesn’t do a mackerel of a thing at all?

Because, you probably weren’t meant to press it. Here, let me open the door with this key.

… you had a key all this time? How? Why am I here? Why are you here? Who put me here? Was it you? When can I have breakfast, when can I go to the toilet? Where has the light gone, who would design a room this horribly, nobody can live in here? Why count I press that juicy red button???

Poor foolish you. Or me, just some years and a few less tragedies back. You won’t be ready for what the world is now, and if you only knew what you were doing with that antigravity machine in your little cave.

Let me guess, you are a time traveller?

Aaahhh… that part. Didn’t think you’d get it so quickly, but …

And you, this futuristic wreck, hair everywhere, is me??!!

Well, you don’t look much better yourself, wasting your life, on a couch with your arse above your head. What gave it away, I can’t remember what it was for me.

Neat, I’m in a story now, and I haven’t even had breakfast, and you haven’t even unlocked the door –

Shhh! You are most definitely NOT in a STORY how RIDICULOUS is THAT AHAHaha. Now now, I came from the future, and there are time machines everywhere…

Aha! If there are time machines everywhere, surely, everybody would be talking about their experience with themselves from the future! And it’s not on the news so…

Don’t say, that we’re in a story!

And with that, a ripping sound, reality started ripping for the both of them, exposing a void, with flavours of cosmic void, black void, code void, scribble void, blinding light void and fake void.

“That person who woke up first, the one with the regular, vanilla text, good job to you for realizing that both of you are in a poorly done story – the author tried to make you a bit of an oaf, but sort of gave up…”

Who was that?! He sounds pretty mean.

Ah, that’s the narrator. He is visible to the readers on the outside. He has been conspicuously absent in this story. Since we are now both aware that we are in a story, he’s just sort of given up, and I was running away because they don’t like meta-stories…

The one with the italic text started explaining to the plain, vanilla text everything that has happened, or at least, what they thought happened. Italic told a story, waking up in a bare room with what seemed to be a body, hair everywhere like a homeless person, albeit, one who looked like they belonged in the future. A big button, red and ripe for the pressing, despite the warning not to press, some rants about architects, the other person waking up, some banter, and the realisation that they were in a story, which secretly made them feel smart.

Italic was almost right, except that the walls were actually an extremely light shade of grey, italic forgot that they started with normal text, and that the button gave them the awareness that they are trapped in a poor story.

Don’t blame me – the button had letters telling them that it wouldn’t be good to press the button.

Before italic could explain the remaining details that would fill in this very fishy, suspiciously cliched and badly crafted plot, the actions of vanilla text and a way to do things better and somehow break this inevitable cycle, the room shook as almost all of the room fell away from the now floating button and door, sending both of them running.

Aww, shame about that problem. Happened in the wrong place at the wrong time. Suckers.

They ran into a hallway, only half finished and loaded, with one hundred doors. Every door a different reality. Try as they might,  only one was unlocked, the circular rusty vault coated with a glowing dust.

Vanilla was trying to find some other door, a secret room, basement, annex, button to press. Circular rusty vaults screamed apocalypse, and that was not the place to go. Italic could see no other way, and tried to drag both of them through the door – a second chance, all the wiser from the hard lessons of the first time going through alone, for the first time. Maybe they can break the cycle, and break out of this poor piece.

Shame, it almost seemed like they were getting somewhere this time, when the void swallowed italic whole, nearly dragging vanilla into the ever growing abyss.

It would’ve broken the cycle, but they wouldn’t have experienced it.

Vanilla gave up. There was nowhere left. Anything that could be done would only go downhill from here. Walk into the apocalypse, or fall into the void.

I have been hiding for a long time now. It has been hell ever since I went through that ruddy port to this wasteland. The apocalypse is bearable, maybe even a little exciting, as if I were in some YA fiction story I heard of some lifetime ago.

Except that I am in one. And the world is out to get me.

The bold voice of the narrator, rumbling through the land…

Vanilla could only hide for so long. All of the deadlands, whatever was left was out to get Vanilla as the plot closes in on Vanilla after all these boring years that, honestly, I think should’ve just been cut down

… taunting me so steadily. This has gone on too long. I can trust nobody. Can’t even get a haircut, bloody mackerel. I need to escape, or who knows what will happen.

I feel like a puppet. Somebody else is controlling my fate. It’s all out of my hands. I can just feel them yanking me away…

I have this one hope. A time machine. Covered with dust, but it’s the one that I built some eons ago, before I ended up in a box with a button and myself from the future.

I’ll take it back to the start.

I’ll make it better.

I’ll break us out of the cycle.

I swear I have done this before, waking up in a white cube, locked door, some disheveled stranger who was myself, nothing to do but to press a button that should not be pressed , running through a corridor with a hundred choices, but only one that leads anywhere, scratching out a living in the badlands, running as everybody I meet tries to kill me just because I know this is a story.

And so, vanilla pulls the levers, flicks the switches, and dials the numbers back to the start. The machine sways with an eerie presence, about to fall apart. Just as the machine has finished carefully tearing the correctly timed and sized hole in space and time, it all falls apart. The rivets fall out, the walls come next, all the levers, switches and dials falling, sucked into the hole, along with vanilla.

The rip dumps vanilla in a clean, sparse, minimalistic white prison box, unconscious, worn from the badlands of a future. With somebody else, of course. Look, that person’s about to speak…

… it must’ve been some night – pretty sure my room is not a clean, sparse, minimalistic box with a button on a pedestal saying “Do Not Press”. Sheesh. Architects these days, with their little white boxes and being so touchy about everything.

And I’m very sure that body wasn’t there before. In haggard, but futuristic robes. Hair everywhere, he looks like some homeless guy from the future.

This feels oddly familiar though – wait! – By mackerel, my breath stinks, and I’m going to get some breakfast…



Frozen, tensed in the binding glare of a stark white room. My vision focuses as my eyes adjust to the all-encompassing white of the cramped room. Shifting uncomfortably, I notice I have trouble moving my arms. Straining against my newfound bonds, a deep unease begins to stir within me and cold traces a burning trail down my back as I feel movement behind me. A disembodied gaze blankets the room.

Assessing my surroundings, I am suddenly aware of the conspicuous lack of cover or shade from the searing heat of the light above me. Instinctively I attempt to raise my hands before stopping short as my sturdy bonds stop me short. Looking down, I see a cocoon of white cloth, only the feeble movements within betraying any difference to my oppressive surroundings.There. I feel someone else behind me again. Whirling around, I see a wall, devoid of shadows. The sudden movement is almost nauseating, and I supress a gag as my stomach churns. With what I am not sure as I can’t recall as I’m not sure when I last ate. In fact, I’m not sure of anything. All I know is that I am being watched by an intruder. One who speaks with no voice, sees without eyes and whose touch is ephemeral, a fleeting hand I cannot feel.

I afraid of the dark. In the dark, there lurks malevolence, suspicion or even succour from the eyes of watchers. But the white is nothing but an unmarked page; a thought unformed; a blinding light. In the white, there is nowhere to hide.

The Pool, Edward Jin

Come, child, come,
Come and dive inside.
Dive into its infinite depths,
And you shall find what you seek.
The thing in front of you,
Is the greatest thing to have existed in
The history of humanity.

It is something of infinite depth,
And man has been drawing from it,
For as long they can remember.
They can’t do anything without it,
And neither can you.

It has done many a thing in history.
It has brought many to prominence,
And many to damnation.
It has given birth to thinkers, believers,
Makers, explorers, innovators, researchers.

It is omniscient, all knowing.
There is nothing it cannot answer,
As long as you look for it,
And have the patience to do so.

So, what is this thing you ask?
Why, it is the pool of knowledge, of course.

Now come, child, come and dive inside,
But try not to drown.


Oh, the elegant tears fell,
As the morning sun peaked from the horizon,
Shining its light from the edge of hell,
To the lands and seas of Poseidon.

Oh, the elegant tears fell,
As her screams returned with no avail,
words resounded like a ringing bell,
Forever she was bound to fail.

Oh, the elegant tears fell,
Forever she was trapped in a cage,
With no man to trust and no woman tell,
Eternally stuck on the same stage.

Oh the elegant tears fell,
Forever she continued to hum,
Endless stories the voice could tell,
But of course she knew, no help would come.

Firdavis Xireaili 10D

(yeah I’m into dark things)